BAE Systems to unveil ‘robot stretcher’

BAE Systems are to unveil a new remote-controlled vehicle designed to evacuate casualties from the battlefield, The Telegraph has reported.

Wounded soldiers could one day be evacuated from the battlefield by a robot stretcher, built by BAE Systems to take on one of the most dangerous jobs soldiers face.

The electric-powered Ironclad ground vehicle can be driven by wireless remote control, but in the future will be fitted with artificial intelligence allowing it to navigate the battlefield independently.

Commanders can fit the chassis with a stretcher for casualty evacuation and the vehicle would make its own way back to an aid station. Alternatively, instead of a stretcher, the chassis could be fitted with bomb disposal equipment, or cameras for reconnaissance missions.

It could even be fitted with a machine fun to become a remote-controlled weapon, but BAE said it would always be under human direction.

The Ironclad will be on display at the DSEI expo in London next week.

Craig Fennell, future programmes director at BAE Systems Land, said: “Ironclad – while being a product in its own right – is also a step towards the battlefield of the future where we expect fleets of unmanned air and ground vehicles to work together, sharing situational awareness and pursuing combat objectives.

“There will always be a human in the loop, but increasing use of autonomy and unmanned vehicles means they can focus on key decisions and have more options to avoid putting people in dangerous situations.”

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